Suggestions Needed for Very Large Hostas

alameda/zone 8March 3, 2014

I want to plant some large hostas in a new bed. I have a Sum & Substance and love it. I would like suggestions for other hostas that are as large as this one. Empress Wu is on my list. Would appreciate some other ideas, also where is the best place to order? Photos would be great if available. Thanks!!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mountainy man z8 Ireland

I can't help you with where to buy as I am in Europe but can help with some names, some that I like the look of are:

Blue Angel, Gentle Giant, Humpback Whale, Key West, Victory, Vim and Vigor.

I include a link to Don Rawson's lists, checkout the list of large upright hostas too.

Hope this helps

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Rawson's list

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)

Alameda, the Smith County Extention service did a trial several years ago. The below were their results. Of course, there are lots of new hosta on the market since then.

These are the results from Smith County, It was a spreadsheet. For the ones I have, my results seem to echo theirs, although I've had bad luck with Blue Angel. The one I have was susceptible to anthracnose. (It could be my particular plant or my particular location.)


The first is the name. then comes the average rating, then the rating for June, then August, then October.

June August October
Blue Angel 9.8 8.8 10 9.5
Sugar & Cream 9.2 9.4 9 9.2
Blue Cadet 8.7 8.8 10 9.2
Francee 6.0 8.8 10 8.3
Gold Standard 6.3 7.6 10 8.0
Honeybells 7.1 8.8 8 8.0
So Sweet 9.4 5.6 8.5 7.8
Royal Standard 7.4 9 7 7.8
Lancifolia 7.3 7.8 8 7.7
Grand Tiara 7.8 7.2 7 7.3
Albo-Marginata 7.6 5.8 7 6.8
September Sun 6.2 7 7 6.7
Sun Power 6.8 6.8 6 6.5
Elegans 6.0 7.4 6 6.5
Emerald Tiara 7.8 7.2 4 6.3
Patriot 4.6 6.2 7 5.9
Bold Ribbon 6.5 6.8 3 5.4
Guacamole 6.7 5.4 4 5.4
Gold Edger 7.1 6 3 5.4
Fragrant Bouquet 5.1 4.8 6 5.3
Sagae 5.2 4.6 6 5.3
Shade Fanfare 5.5 4.6 3 4.4
Summer Music 3.8 2.8 6 4.2
Undulata 6.3 3 3 4.1
Temple Bells 6.1 3.2 3 4.1
Krossa Regal 4.2 3.8 4 4.0
Resonance 4.3 5.2 2 3.8
H. fortunei 'Aureo Marginata' 4.3 3 2 3.1
Aphrodite 3.5 2.4 3 3.0
Colossal 4.3 2.6 2 3.0
Fried Green Tomatoes 3.8 3.4 1 2.7
Invincible 4.5 2.6 1 2.7
Halcyon 2.8 2.8 2 2.5
Big Daddy 2.3 2.8 1 2.0
Daybreak 1.7 2.4 2 2.0
Sum & Substance 2.1 1.8 2 2.0
Hadspen Heron 1.5 1 1 1.2
*Master Gardeners were asked to rank each variety from 1 to 10, with 1 = worst/almost dead, and 10 =

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada

Liberty is listed as a very large. That one is a favorite of just about everyone. You should be able to get in most nurseries. I'm from Canada. I don't have experience with ordering from the States.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Judith,

We love these questions. Let's see, here are a few...

YELLOW RIVER are just a few...

I added a link to the hosta library, a website where you can find pics to many, many varieties.

Don B.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hosta Library

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For ordering hostas, many of us on the forum like these sites, among others...


That should get you started...I'm sure you'll get info on even more sources in future postings. : )

Don B.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alameda/zone 8

Fantastic information - thank you so much! This will give me something to do while our weather has reverted from spring back to winter and high today was 28 degrees........

What great lists! Thanks again!!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No problem, Judith. We love enabling people on this forum. Just for fun, here's a picture of 'Key West', one of the hostas Denis listed on his post. This is probably the first, original plant, and the woman in the picture is Olga Petryszyn. She's the hybridzer who created it. It will take several years, but as you can see, it can get HUGE.

Don B.

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 2:01

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

'All That Jazz' is very nice, and it'll get really big, too. Olga P. created this one as well. Her specialty is very large hosta. Disclaimer: This is not my plant, nor did I take this pic. I think this one is also from Olga's garden.

Don B.

This post was edited by Don_in_Colorado on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 2:08

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

'Big Daddy'. It gets a lot bigger than this, but mine is only about 3-4 years old.

Don B.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bernd ny zone5

I get all my large hostas from Land of the Giants. Jeff Miller there digs out divisions from mature plants. You will then have an instant very good start. Look at their catalog in which he has lists such as 'Very Large' under 'Characteristics', see the link.

I have 'Empress Wu', 'Blue Angel', 'Spartacus', 'Big Daddy', 'Key West', Sagae', 'Blue Umbrellas', 'Blue Mammoth', 'Eliator', 'Ryan's Big One', 'Abba Dabba Doo', 'Millenium', 'Liberty', 'Victory', 'Gentle Giant', and 'S&S' and its kids 'Vim and Vigor', 'Sum of All', 'Sum it Up', 'Titanic', 'Parhelion'. Others like montana 'Albomarginata', 'Atlantis', 'Frances Williams', 'Elegans' also top 30 inches tall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Land of the Giants 'Very Large'

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

it might be questionable.... as to how long.. blues stay blue.. the further south you go ...

which only means.. you will have the underlying green hosta.. once the wax wears off.. and they will probably grow faster.. without the blue coat interfering with photosynthesis ...


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)

Judith, as Ken says, the blues won't be blue for you very long, if ever. However, I bought Humpback Whale last year anyway - mostly because ot who bred it. One that has done very well at the Dallas Arboretum is Victory. It's a beautiful plant. It's a nice bright green with a creamy edge. It was still decent looking in August in awful hot summer we had a couple of years ago. Although it's not quite as large, consider Guacamole. It does really well here. (It's yellow with a green edge.) You probably won't want another yellow, but I'd skip Key West. It burns in early morning sun.

I'll go through my Arboretum photos and see if any of the large hosta stand out and let you know.


My Blue Angel - this is what a blue hosta will look like at your house.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alameda/zone 8

I do have Blue Angel.....mine is still in a pot, not nearly that big, but will have something to look forward to! I really like Big Daddy, must have that - love the corrugated leaves, also love Key West - would that work in a shaded area? Looks like I will have many to choose from! Love seeing the photos - that helps with the decisions!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)

Yes, I definitely over-estimated how much sun Key West can take. I'm moving it to full/dappled shade. And,,,that was it's first year here. It might adapt better in time. I think I'll like it though.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 10:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bernd ny zone5

Here is my h.'Key West' June 21 last year in zone 5. It is its 3rd year here out of a pot. Bernd

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alameda/zone 8

Thank you for all the beautiful photos. Bernd's post brings to mind a question. When I order and receive these hostas, is it best to let them grow in a pot for awhile or plant them in ground? I am familiar with roses and daylilies....but have never ordered hostas. The ones I have were purchased locally and were in pots and growing well. I understand that these large ones takes several years to attain some size - is this correct?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some of the best Giant Hostas IMO are
1 Blue Angel
2 Sum and Substance
3 Sieboldiana "elegans"
These 3 get huge and are easily available everywhere, one caveat beware of S&S from bigbox stores they are often infected with HVX.
Others a little more expensive
4 Victory
5 Sagae
6 Thunderbolt
7 Key west
8 Empress Wu
9 Color Glory
10 Winter Snow

Most of these hostas will take a some years to attain a large size. the two fastest growing are S&S and BA. Slowest are Thunderbolt, and Victory (in my experience)
Pictured is a 6 year old Blue Angel (70" across)
Hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

very large... and giant hosta... can take 5 to 10 years to achieve max size ...

on rec'g mail order ... plant them.. pot or soil ... do not leave soaking in a bucket for more than a few hours ... even if all you do is heel them in.. until you can do it properly ...

if you need to use a bucket.. JUST THE ROOTS .. and not the crown .. can sit in water.. in a cool dark place ... it depends how dry they were on shipping...

it is not good to leave them wrapped in a plastic burrito for very long.. they need air ...

i have been know to tear away the bottom of the burrito .. and stand them in an inch of water ... for a day or two ... in the dark basement ...

i have also had some damp media.. in a wheelbarrow.. and held them ,.,. heeled in.. in that for a few days ... until they could get into mother earth ...

long term growing in pots is tricky.. and all depends on what you fill the pots with ... the media .... there should be hundreds of posts on such ... though i am sure... the pot heads.. will be glad to type it all up again ...

VL hosta.. have to grow a very large root mass.. to ultimately grow VL leaves.. and all that work is done.. where you cant see it ... so patience is a virtue ....

whatever sprouts out this spring.. is about all it will be .. this year ... 'fast growing' .. in the hosta world.. is not similar to fast growing in other plants ... unlike a rose.. which can go nuts its first year.. a hosta will not do that ...

the difference between 5 and 10 years.. can start.. with what you pay for.. and what you receive to start with ... if you go cheap;.. and buy a tiny twerp of a plant.. you will be toward the 10 year mark ...

if you invest upfront.. and buy a plant that already has a 2 or 3 year old root mass ... then you will be cutting that much off the 10 years ...

e.g. ..... halson's field grows there stock for 2 to 3 years... and is one of our favored vendors ... there are a few older posts on vendors ... good and bad ... maybe someone can kick up one of the old posts... from a handy link ... there are plenty.. that we dont like ... and do be aware... if you order from vendors in the great white north... and they grow in the ground... it wont matter when you want them... it matters when the soil thaws for them to be dug ...

you can barely kill a hosta thru abject neglect.. but you can love them to death.. lol ... water is about all they need ... and i mean deep complete watering.. not spraying the leaves down ... and heavy fert is not going to change the genetic tendency of maturity ... a little of this or that wont hurt... but maturity wont come faster by hyper-fertilization [which is within the definition of loving them to death ...

the biggest problem with pots... is winter dormancy.. and pot storage ... and you will have plenty of time to get that all straight by fall ... hosta have a requisite dormancy temp and duration .. and that is one of the biggest hurdles in the south ...

have you read thru all 65 pages of posts... lol ... new questions... on new topics.. are probably best in new posts.. never fear doing too many.. but try to use searchable titles.. so others can track them down .... should a topic reappear ... titles like 'HELP' ... well there are millions of them .... this title was spot on .... but as you can see... by now.. or responses arent on topic ... but have no fear.. just enjoy yourself ....

everything i know.. is there for the asking ....

good luck


    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bernd ny zone5

Ken has good advice.
When I get freshly dug large hostas I usually let the roots soak over night or more, also to pump up the large leaves again and then plant them in a pot in the shade for a month or so with crown above soil. That also gives me some time to rearrange a planting to find a good place for the new plant. Large hosta divisions will have large leaves, and they need to be supported the first year with a stick and some masking tape. Sometimes roots of large hosta divisions are short due to the difficulty of digging long roots out of established soil, but since the crown is big, roots will grow fast. It takes several years in the ground to make a large mature clump with several eyes from a division with single or double eyes. While a new hosta sits there in a pot in a tray, I add normal strength fertilizer to the water and spray plants occasionally with a fungicide. That works for me.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)

Since you say "East Texas", I'm assuming sandy soil. They should fine in the ground. They require good drainage, so if you are in clay, you'll need to do some kind of raised bed.. You should not have any problem with pots. They will be smaller here than up north, whether in the ground or in pots. I don't think I'd try Empress Wu in a pot, though.

Be aware that what does well for someone in Minnesota may not do so well here. I think different hosta have different chilling requirements, kind of like peach trees. But since they are fairly new to this area, I don't think we know which ones have high chilling requirements. We know that hosta that have fragrant genes require less chilling. Also, our growing season is so much longer than those in Minnesota, that what does well for their four to five month growing season doesn't necessarily hold up to our eight to nine month growing season. It's a learning curve for all of us in the South.

I looked at my arboretum photos, but did not find anymore large/extra large hosta that stood out. I didn't take any photos last year. 2011 was the terrible heat/drought year which left h. Victory still standing in August. There was no Wu there in 2011. My photos from 2012 were taken in May, so everything looked good except for the horrible caterpillar holes.

Good luck and let us know what you choose and how it does for you.


This post was edited by bkay2000 on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 11:14

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 9:58AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Who's going to the Annual AHS convention in Raleigh?
I live about an hour and a half west of Raleigh. Anybody...
Shiny-leaved Hosta
I am SOOO bored watching snow melt! Not fast enough...although...
josephines123 z5 ON Canada
Hi, guys!
I’ve been reading the hosta forum for a couple of...
What have we ordered?
So far I have gotten a few new ones. What have you...
ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida
Sponsored Products
Bolero Brahms Silver And Gold Leaf Eight-Light Chandelier
Sloan - Two-seat sofa in Night fabric
Interior Define
Sloan Accent Chair - Cranberry Fabric
Interior Define
Wide Rim 18" Oval Copper
Taurus LED Polished Chrome 33-Inch Wide 12-Light Semi-Flush Mount
Ideal Modular Sliding Glass Dog Door - MODPATSM
$144.95 | Hayneedle
Alphasoup Grayscale Giclee Paley Black Table Lamp
$99.99 | Lamps Plus
Tommy Bahama by Lexington Home Brands Island Estate Boca Square Wood End Table M
$899.00 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™